White House pushes industry to hire vets

Post-Sept. 11 veteran unemployment rate over 13 percent, White House says

The White House has a new program to help get military veterans employed, including tax breaks for companies that hire vets and a task force to help with the transition process.

President Barack Obama, who spoke Aug. 5 at the Navy Yard in Washington, stressed the need for the government to improve assistance for veterans and for industry to step up hiring them.

The task force will be led by the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, which will coordinate with the agencies to help vets get access to training, education and credentials to prepare them for the civilian workforce or college. The Labor Department will set up one-stop career centers for career development and job search resources, while the Office of Personnel Management is set to release a best practices manual for identifying and hiring veterans, according to the administration.

“We'll make it easier for veterans to go to their local, one-stop career center and get help pursuing a career that fits them best," Obama said. "These steps will help bridge part of the gap between veterans looking for work and companies looking to hire. But that's only part of the equation. The other half is about encouraging companies to do their part.”

To help meet the need, he proposed tax breaks as incentives to hire unemployed veterans, including a new Returning Heroes tax credit of up to $4,800 per hire, and an increase of the existing Wounded Warriors tax credit for companies hiring veterans with service-related disabilities who have been unemployed for six months or more to a maximum of $9,600 per veteran, and up to $4,800 for all other veterans with a service-related disability, according a White House fact sheet.

A number of companies have already gotten involved in the effort, including Siemens Corp., Accenture, IT giants Microsoft and HP, and defense contracting firms Lockheed Martin and Honeywell, according to a White House blog post titled “Meeting the President’s Challenge: Businesses Supporting Our Veterans.”

Obama challenged industry to hire or train 100,000 unemployed post-9/11 veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013.

As of June, 1 million veterans were unemployed and the jobless rate for post-Sept. 11 vets was 13.3 percent. The drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will result in another 1 million service members leaving the military between 2011 and 2016, the fact sheet states.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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